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Coastal Systems Science

Aquatic ecology in the coastal zone

The unique ecosystems of watersheds and estuaries, marshes, shallow embayments, and shelf environments are part of the land/sea boundary. They are critical for the lifecycles of many economically and recreationally important finfish and shellfish species.

Freshwater inputs not only affect salinity distributions and circulation patterns, but also are sources of nutrients and contaminants. Understanding and remediating the impact of human society on the coastal marine ecosystems is essential.

As a student pursuing this area, you would develop a fundamental understanding of aquatic ecology in the coastal zone and its dependence on physical, chemical, and geological processes. You would also develop skills to help predict and manage present and future human impacts on these important resources.

Related areas of study

  • Familiarity with fundamental concepts in physics, biology, chemistry, and geology
  • General knowledge of ecology and marine science

Learning outcomes

  • Understanding of the complex ecology and multiple interconnections within coastal systems
  • Skills for analyzing diverse and spatially distributed environmental data
  • Use of Geographic Information Systems for visualizing and interpreting spatial datasets
  • Familiarity with the scientific issues that influence coastal resource management and policy
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